Halloween Stranger Danger

Cynthia Dermody

As parents, we often don't realize how many things we teach are really double standards. Skylersmommy323 makes a terrific point in the Toddler Moms group about Halloween and why she may no longer let her 4-year-old daughter go trick-or-treating. Here's her explanation why:

"I'm trying to teach my daughter not to talk to stangers. And I feel I wouldn't be really teaching her if I'm taking her door-to-door, or letting her hand out candy to strangers. It's just not safe to me. I don't want her to think that it's okay and then end up turning around and telling her, no, that it's bad later."

And Skylersmommy323 is not the only one whose antenna is up. This year, especially, authorities are taking steps to make sure sex offenders steer clear of kids on October 31, when 94 percent of all 4- to 12-year-olds will be knocking on doors asking for candy. In Missouri, sex offenders will be required to remain inside their homes between 5 and 10:30 p.m. and post a sign stating, "No candy or treats at this residence." Other states have similar laws in place designed to safeguard children from potential harm.

Just wondering if you think we're sending the wrong message by letting our kids participate in Halloween, or do you think our children can learn that there are different types of strangers?

For those of us who do decide to keep up the tradition, it's probably a good idea to brush up on some safety guidelines especially for little kids. Some include:

  • Keeping flame resistant costumes away from candles (because they can still catch fire);
  • Making sure outfits are short enough to prevent tripping in the street; and
  • Painting your child's face with cosmetics instead of using a mask, which can restrict vision and breathing.

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